Taiwan opposition leader in Japan despite territory dispute
TAIPEI, Taiwan - The leader of Taiwan’s main opposition party went to Japan on Sunday on a goodwill visit amidst a territorial dispute over islands in the East China Sea.
Su Tseng-chang, chairman of the Tokyo-friendly Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is making first foreign trip since being elected party leader last May.
"We give priority to Japan, as it is a crucial neighboring country of Taiwan and has maintained a longstanding friendly relationship with Taipei," the party said in a statement.
China, Taiwan and Japan dispute the sovereignty of the islands known as the Diaoyu islands in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese.
Last month a boatload of Taiwanese activists protected by the Taiwanese coastguard sailed to waters off the islands. Coastguards from the two sides converged and fired their water cannons.
The boat, carrying seven people including four Taiwanese activists, gave up a plan to land on the islands.
Intensified friction over the islands between China and Japan has seen both sides recently scrambling fighter jets to assert their claims.
Su may meet Japanese political figures and scholars to discuss "a wide range of topics" during his five-day visit, said party spokesman Lin Chun-hsien.
Lin declined to say if the discussions would touch on the sensitive islands dispute.
He said Su currently has no plans to meet Shintaro Ishihara, a right-wing activist and former Tokyo governor who last year tried to buy the disputed islands to assert Japan's claim. – Rappler.com